China’s Second Largest Bitcoin Miner Canaan Seeks Hong Kong IPO
Canaan Creative, one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining machine maker, is considering an initial public offer(IPO) outside mainland China after scrapping its plan to list on China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotation (NEEQ), or the New Third Board in late March, according to a report from Caixin.
The company’s co-chairman Jianping Kong said in an interview on Friday that Canaan is evaluating different oversea stock exchanges for having a listing now, and is considering an IPO in HongKong or the United States, and will make a decision soon. At press time, details regarding the timing of the listing and the amount of money the company expects to raise remain unknown.
Founded in 2013, Hangzhou-based Canaan is known for producing China’s first bitcoin mining machine, Avalon which features customized super-fast ASIC chips. As the demand for mining rigs surged in 2017, the world leading chip maker sold more than 1.2 billion CNY in blockchain chips last year, with over 300 million CNY in profits. It is expected that the company’s sales will top 10 billion CNY and its profit will jump to 5 billion CNY.
Yongjie Yao, one of Canaan’s investors and the chairman of Tunlan Investment, said in February that the company would go for an IPO in Hong Kong this year, and if the company went public successfully, it would become the first “pure” blockchain stock in Hong Kong’s stock exchange.
Canaan’s road to an IPO is full of twists and turns. The company had tried to list on Shenzhen Stock Exchange through a back-door listing in 2016, but the plan was canceled after failing to satisfy the regulatory requirements.In August 2017, the company submitted a listing application to the NEEQ, but ultimately it gave up its listing in domestic market again in early 2018.
Although Canaan denied the decision was driven by China’s escalating crackdown on bitcoin, it seems impossible for a bitcoin-related company to list in Mainland China now. Coincidentally, another Chinese bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer, Ebang—-producer of Ebit miner—- announced that it intended to list overseas and would retreat from listing on the NEEQ due to its business strategy.
Hence, seeking overseas listing may be a better choice for Canaan which hit a roadblock in their efforts to list on NEEQ and Shenzhen Stock Exchange, but it is also unknown whether this kind of enterprise will be welcomed in Hong Kong’s capital market. At present, the connection between capital markets of Mainland China and Hong Kong is becoming more and more close, the regulatory cooperation between both sides is also enhanced, and regulators in both jurisdictions seem to take a similar attitude towards cryptocurrency regulation.